It was very clear that Bayern Munich was going to have to compete with a laundry list of clubs across Europe’s top flights in their pursuit of RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano. Eventually, a deal was finalized and announced last Friday, revealing that the French defender would join Bayern this summer on a five year deal.
Per a new report from Goal, Bayern’s interest in the Frenchman stems all the way back to the summer of 2015, when he was being courted by RB Salzburg to move there from Valenciennes’ U-19 team. When he was at the Paris airport getting ready to fly to Austria to visit Salzburg’s training facilities, he was approached by an agent from Bayern to try and persuade him to have a visit to Sabener Strasse instead.
After some back and forth, the offer from Bayern’s representative was eventually rejected and Upamecano completed his move to RB Salzburg.
“We were sure of our decision. We were looking for a project with a solid foundation. How many talents go to big clubs and don’t play? It’s important to start well in a new club,” Thierry Martinez said, who was Upamecano’s agent at the time.
Manchester United was also interested in the summer of 2015, but it’s clear that Upamecano’s representatives were worried about offloading him to a top club at such a young age. They didn’t want him to move somewhere, not get enough playing time, and start to lose confidence, and thus have his form take a big hit. In that sense, moving to Salzurg and then RB Leipzig was a better, more logical process for him.
When clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Barcelona started to show increased interest along with Bayern after he rose to prominence at Leipzig under the past couple of seasons, Bayern always held the advantage because of the contact they had with him in 2015. They had made it clear then, that even at a young age, they had their hearts set on Upamecano. Of course, with regards to some of the other clubs, Bayern was slightly aided by Barcelona’s financial crisis and Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis forcing them to tap into the winter transfer market for Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies for reinforcements. With that, Chelsea became the other real contender, but they weren’t able to present a good enough offer to beat out Bayern.
“We had very good, intensive and professional discussions with Dayot and his agent Volker Struth for many months,” Hasan Salihamidzic recently told Bild. “We knew we had very tough competition. Upamecano is a young player, 22, whose qualities are already extraordinarily developed. I was always convinced that we came up with a good concept. We presented him our vision of his career at Bayern. During the past week in Doha, I spoke to everyone involved again. At the end of a long process, the player, his family and management were convinced that Bayern was the right partner.”
Struth had even revealed that he had visited Sabener Strasse in January and that everyone in Upamecano’s circle had known by that point that Bayern was the right fit for him. From then up until now, everything was just about getting all of the finite details hashed out and getting the deal done.